Coming into 2011 in the middle of the Queensland floods, was a very nervous time for business in Queensland. Having just recovered from the 2008/2009 down turn, everyone was talking the market up late 2010 and we were all very confident going into the New Year.
Then bang, just like that things changed, or so we thought. Like most people in Brisbane we returned from xmas holidays early, preparing for another down turn and strategising about how we would work through it. But I am very pleased to say we were wrong. By late January market confidence was back up on track, the phones started ringing off the hook; organisations and government entities alike were back to the business of running their businesses.
The media still talk about recession and economic uncertainty but within the recruitment industry it is more “recession, what recession?” but we have had to work harder and smarter than ever before. In the sectors we consult in – I.T., Accounting, Executive and Health – candidates are once again in the driving seat. Whether this is a reflection of what is happening in the mining and resources sector or not, we are seeing candidates in the position of having multiple choices about which role to accept. This in turn started to push salaries and hourly rates up further as companies became desperate to secure staff for the positions, but I believe in recent times common sense has prevailed as employers have remained budget conscious and paying what the role and experience is worth. Thank god we have not reverted to the craziness of 2007 when people were being counter offered $30K plus just to stay put.
The I.T. division has experienced outstanding growth in 2011 – with many major projects still kicking along, the demand for Project and Program Managers, outstanding Business Analysts and high-level technical experts has never been as good. BUT, what we have seen happen this year, is government entities making the decision to stop projects that are not progressing and deciding to put the $$$ to better use. So candidates assuming that a long-term project is an easy ride are now being kept on their toes to deliver results or risk that they may not have a contract at all.
Whilst the Accounting market is not the resilient market it once was there have been many large projects that have kept us and our candidates busy throughout the year. With a push by organsiations to employ technically astute candidates, CPA/CA/CIMA qualifications are becoming a minimum rather than a desired requirement, so candidates take note, push a little harder and get your qualification, it makes you so much more sought after in the current market.
Our newest division Health has had a great year, this area has seen a move for us into clinical and broader health roles. This has been exciting and challenging for those involved, with the successful placement of the Chief Nurse for Qld and numerous Executive levels roles across both the private and public sectors we believe 2012 will be an even greater year for Eden Ritchie’s Health Division.
Not surprisingly recruitment in the North Queensland and Bowen Basin has been very busy, whilst the companies and positions on offer have been great, the challenge has been the lack of residential housing and cost of living associated within his region. If the mining boom continues, the next couple of years are going to be challenging for businesses to attract people to the region, as not everyone wants a FIFO option. Additionally, the pressure on Local Governments to fix and build further infrastructure to support the growth is essential.
With both Local, State and potentially Federal government elections looming you can be sure a lot will be promised to fix this but what actually is delivered is another thing. I would be interested to hear other’s opinions on this as the tide is turning at all levels of government and I believe we are in for a turbulent year in politics. Hold onto your hats it is about to get nasty.
So where do I think we will be in 2012 – ever the optimist, I believe the economy is stronger than the media portray, that may be naive as we are living in the 2nd busiest state after WA in the country, but that is the position I will continue to take. We spend a lot of time going into organisations and government entities and talking about the future with the Executives and whilst some are cautious due to elections, Europe, the Australian $ etc. most are taking the view that we have work to do and no matter what governments are in office commerce still needs to keep moving along.
I for one have had a great 2011 and would like to thank our staff, candidates and most of all loyal and long-term clients who continue to work with our business.
Bring on 2012, we are all ready to hit it hard.
Written by Kim Ritchie